Tag Archives: SDS PAGE


February 17, 2016

The Facility’s PAGE equipment is free to use. If you don’t know how to run a gel, Tania can help!

Professor Ozbolat's students, Kerim (left) and Madhuri (right) are using PAGE equipment with Donna's (center) guidance.

Professor Ozbolat’s students, Kerim (left) and Madhuri (right) are using PAGE equipment with Donna’s (center) guidance.

2D PAGE in less than one page

Approximate timeline

Day 1

Immobilized pH gradient (IPG) strip rehydration: active time 5 min per sample, rehydration is carried out overnight

Day 2

Isoelectric focusing (IEF): active time 5 min per sample, IEF 5-6 hrs.

Preparation for the 2nd dimension SDS PAGE: 1 hr.; necessary reagents and solutions are prepared during the last hour of IEF.

SDS PAGE, staining, and de-staining: 2.5 hrs. with de-staining overnight.


Brief procedure (learn more in the 2D PAGE manual )

Day 1 (late afternoon)

Protein sample should be lyophilized or precipitated. To keep the ionic strength of the protein solution at minimum, avoid salts. Non-ionic and zwitterionic solubilizing agents could be present, but keep in mind solubility limits.

Protein load for a complex sample to be stained with Coomassie is approximately 100 ug. The protein load varies depending on many factors including stain sensitivity, IPG range, or downstream applications (refer to the manual).

Protein sample is dissolved in the sample buffer (Bio-Rad cat #163-2106), 125 ul for 7 cm IPG strips and 185 uL for 11 cm IPG strips. The protein solution is pipetted into a channel in a rehydration tray. An IPG strip is placed gel side down into the channel, covered with mineral oil, and left overnight at 4 C.


Day 2 (early morning)

IPG strips are placed into a focusing tray, covered with mineral oil, and the tray is placed into the IEF cell for 5-6 hrs.

After the IEF is complete, strips are soaked in a reducing buffer, followed by alkylating buffer, rinsed in SDS running buffer, and placed at the top of an SDS-PAGE gel. A molten agarose solution is applied to the well. Once agarose solidifies, the gel is ready for the 2nd dimension electrophoresis.

After completion of the SDS-PAGE, gels are rinsed, stained, and destained. Alternatively, the gels can be electro-blotted.


Immobilized pH gradient (IPG) strips

What IPG strip is the best for your experiment? Start by choosing the length (7 cm or 11 cm). Short strips are compatible with the Mini-PROTEAN cell, longer strips are compatible with the Criterion cell. All parameters being equal, a larger gel affords better resolution. Next select pH range depending on a type of your experiment: broad range (e.g. 3-10) for a global view, narrow range for a zoom-in view.
Bio-Rad cat #163-2000, 7 cm, pH 3–10, immobilized pH gradient (IPG) strip for first-dimension separations, pkg of 12
Bio-Rad cat #163-2014, 11 cm, pH 3–10, immobilized pH gradient (IPG) strip for first-dimension separations, pkg of 12

Buffers and gels

Rehydration/sample buffer, Bio-Rad cat #163-2106

Agarose, Bio-Rad cat #163-2111

Criterion Tris-HCl Gel, Bio-Rad cat #345-0040, Pkg of 1, 8–16% polyacrylamide gel, prep+2 well, 800 μl, 13.3 x 8.7 cm (W x L), for use with Criterion and Criterion Dodeca cells

10x Tris/Glycine/SDS, Bio-Rad cat #161-0732, 1 L, 10x premixed electrophoresis buffer, contains 25 mM Tris, 192 mM glycine, 0.1% SDS, pH 8.3 following dilution to 1x with water

SDS equilibration buffer II: 6M urea, 2% SDS, 0.375 M Tris-HCl (pH 8.8), 20% glycerol, Bio-Rad cat #163-2108

And for the best results: Electrode Wicks, Bio-Rad cat #165-4071, Pkg of 500, precut electrode wicks, for use with the PROTEAN® i12™ IEF system. (I still have about 450, no need to buy)

2D PAGE video tutorial

2D PAGE detailed procedure for the Bio-Rad starter kit

Please let me know if you are interested in a 2D PAGE experiment!

Gel imaging equipment give-away

We are giving away a set of gel-imaging equipment. There has been a very small number of requests for use of this equipment even though we offer this service at no charge. We would like to find a good home for this equipment – hopefully a shared facility – as we are making room for a new mass spectrometer.

1. Proteome Works spot cutter with fluorescent enclosure (Bio-Rad)

IMG_1376 (427x640)





2. GS-800 calibrated densitometer (Bio-Rad)

IMG_1378 (640x427)





3. Molecular imager FX Pro Plus laser scanner (Bio-Rad)

IMG_1379 (640x427)





4. PDQuest server (Bio-Rad)

Please feel free to stop by and take a look!

Tutorial: In-gel digestion

If you have never done in-gel protein digestion, this tutorial is for you! The protocol is really simple and does not require any specialized equipment. Even if your gel has been sitting in the fridge for a month or two, it should still work, but no mold, please! First order of business is to choose a band and cut it out. You will need a clean blade, a clean surface (a clean glass plate or a clean transparency sheet), a clean microcentrifuge tube, and a pair of clean gloves. Everything should be clean: the goal is to minimize contamination of interesting proteins by uninteresting keratins. 1. Place the gel on a glass plate, blot excess water with a clean paper tissue. Select a band and cut out only the stained portion of the gel. Avoid unstained area: it will sponge up a protease solution, giving nothing interesting in return. 2. Dice the band into 1-mm (1/16”) sections; this will help the protease reach more protein inside the gel. 3. Place the gel cubes in a clean microcentrifuge tube, cover with water to prevent them from drying out, and label the tube with no more than 5 characters. For example, use your initials and numbers. 4. Include a positive control! There is no charge for analyzing a control! Cut out a known protein band following steps 1, 2, and 3.

Cutting a gel band             The in-gel digestion protocol can be found on Thermo website along with the product numbers for all necessary reagents.

Washing the gel

You will need 50% acetonitrile (ACN) solution containing 8 mg/mL ammonium bicarbonate (wash solution). Add 0.05 – 0.1 mL of this solution per gel band, enough to completely cover the gel. Incubate at 37 C for 15-20 min, discard the solution. Repeat two more times. At this point, all or most of the blue color should be gone. If you are destaining SYPRO, there is no easy way to tell whether it is all gone, of course.

Reducing disulfides and alkylating Cys residues

You will need

  1. 5 mM TCEP (Tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine hydrochloride) solution in the 8 mg/mL ammonium bicarbonate. I make 100 mM (29 mg/mL) stock solution in water and store it in the fridge up to a month. Dilute this stock 20x (e.g. 50 uL 100 mM TCEP + 950 uL ammonium bicarbonate solution).
  2. Fresh 100 mM IAA (iodoacetamide) solution in the 8 mg/mL ammonium bicarbonate. This is approximately 18 mg/mL IAA solution.

Cover the gel slices with 5 mM TCEP and incubate 10 min at 60 C. Remove the TCEP solution and cover the gel with 100 mM IAA solution. Incubate at 37 C for 15 min with occasional shaking, preferably protected from light. Room temperature will also work, but give it extra 10-15 min. Discard the IAA solution and wash the gel with the wash solution three times to remove IAA and TCEP. (In the Pierce protocol, you might notice that 100 mM IAA requires 9.3 mg in 1 mL, while MW of IAA is 184.9. It is a typo. Either way: 50 mM, 9.3 mg/mL or 100 mM, 18 mg/mL, will work as there will be a large molar excess of IAA compared to Cys. Shrink the gel by covering it with ACN and incubating at r.t. for 15 min or until the gel turns white and brittle. Remove ACN and allow the gel to air dry for 15 min at 37 C (or longer at room temperature).


Make 1 mg/mL trypsin stock solution in 50 mM acetic acid or 1 mM hydrochloric acid. This solution can be aliquoted and stored in a freezer for months. Instructions for other MS-grade proteases can be found here. Dilute trypsin to 0.01 mg/ml (1:100 dilution) with 8 mg/mL ammonium bicarbonate. Add 50 uL of this solution per gel band and incubate at 37 C 8-24 hours. If you are working with a large piece of gel or several bands combined in one tube, make sure that after the gel re-hydrates in the enzyme solution, it is completely covered. Add more enzyme solution if necessary.

Extracting the peptides

You will need 50% ACN solution containing 0.1% formic acid (FA). If you don’t have formic acid in your lab, let me know – we will share ours with you. Transfer the digest solution to a new tube. Extract each gel band with 50 uL of 50% ACN/0.1% FA (more, if working with a large volume of gel) by incubating at 37 C for 15 min. Transfer this solution to the new tube with the digest solution. Repeat 2 more times. Evaporate the combined extracts in a vacuum concentrator (e.g. Speedvac). Please note, if you are extracting large peptides (>5000 Da), using a sonic bath may be a better option than incubation. Also, in addition to the three 50% ACN extractions, you can use 100% acetonitrile for the final extraction. Submit your dried samples along with a picture of the gel so that I can estimate how much of each sample to use for analysis, and don’t forget to fill out the Protein ID Request form

As always, let me know if you have a question or three!

1D and 2D PAGE equipment and supplies

I get a lot of inquiries about our PAGE (polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) equipment, so here are some information on the equipment we have and the supplies we use.

Cost: It’s free!

We share our PAGE equipment with you at no charge. You need to purchase your own supplies: e.g. gels, standards, buffers, and other consumables. Sometimes we have supplies left over from the Facility experiments, which we will gladly share with you as well. Please, ask before you buy your own!


Power supply

Our power supply is a basic model; it does not store programmed methods. It can run up to 4 cells simultaneously, as long as the conditions are the same.

Electrophoresis cells

We have three Bio-Rad electrophoresis cells, a Mini-PROTEAN Tetra for up to 4 mini-gels (8.6 x 6.7 cm), a Criterion cell for up to 2 midi-gels (13.3 x 8.7 cm), and a Criterion Dodeca cell for up to 12 midi-gels. We also have a blotter for 13.3 x 8.7 cm gels.

2D PAGE, first dimension (isoelectric focusing, IEF)

Our PROTEAN IEF cell (Bio-Rad) is capable of storing methods, and accepts 7 cm, 11 cm, and 18 cm focusing trays. We also have rehydration trays for all three IPG (immobilized pH gradient) strip lengths.

Gel casting equipment

You can use our gel casting stands and glass plates (0.75 mm) to cast your own mini-gels. In my experience, 1-mm thick gels hold up much better, especially for low %T (4-10%). Bring your own plates if you wish!


The Pierce precast mini gels from Fisher are compatible with the Bio-Rad Mini-PROTEAN cell. We do not buy precast gels from Bio-Rad due to the high shipping costs. Fisher orders ship free. You can learn more here.

Immobilized pH gradient (IPG) strips are also available from Fisher (GE Healthcare Immobiline DryStrip gels, for example). The prices are comparable with the Bio-Rad’s, and the shipping is free.

05/28/2014 ETA: According to the GE Healthcare website, Immobiline IPG strips and buffers are not compatible with the Bio-Rad IEF cell running conditions. I am not familiar with the GE system and cannot tell you whether this is true; so to be safe, please use Bio-Rad IPG strips and buffers. If anyone has successfully run Immobiline strips on Bio-Rad IEF cell, please share with us! This information could save your colleagues both time and money!

Disclaimer: We do not receive any form of compensation for promoting any brand or a particular distributor.

Still have questions? Let’s meet and talk about your project!